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  • 20.07.2017
  • 15:30
  • Erklärungen und Bemerkungen
  • 493/17
  • Institutionelle Fragen

(revised translation)

Yesterday I asked President Andrzej Duda for an urgent meeting to discuss the political crisis in Poland and its dangerous consequences for our country's standing on the world stage. It is our shared responsibility to prevent a black scenario that could ultimately lead to the marginalisation of Poland in Europe.

We have a difference of opinion on the proposals put forward by the ruling party. It is my belief that its most recent actions go against European values and standards and risk damaging our reputation. They transport us - in the political sense - in time and space: backwards and eastwards. The President most certainly thinks otherwise. But not even the deepest differences can absolve us from our duty to work together for the good and safety of our country.

The European Union is not just about money and procedures. It is first and foremost about values and high standards for public life. That is why such a wave of criticism towards the government is currently on the rise across Europe and the entire West. It has been a long time since Poland was in the centre of attention so much, and even longer since this attention was so negative. We can stop this dangerous tendency, but it will require dialogue, a readiness to engage in talks and swift decisions that are positive for the people of Poland.

Bringing the courts under the control of the governing party in the manner proposed by the Law and Justice Party (PiS) will ruin the already tarnished public opinion about Polish democracy. We must therefore find a solution which will be accepted by the Poles, the parliamentary majority and the opposition, the President and the European Union. I know this is hard. It will require concessions, mutual respect and a little bit of trust. Hard, yet not impossible. But there is very little time left.

The situation, also in the international dimension, is really serious. And that is why we need serious measures and serious partners. Please try your best, Mr President.